Shedding the killer image
The World Cup in shooting hosted by Egypt might help change people's perceptions of the sport
Last week, Egypt hosted the seventh Shooting World Cup with the participation of 45 countries. Abeer Anwar reports.
Cairo's Shooting Club paid host to the event in trap, double trap and skeet events for both men and women held from 11-18 April.
A World Cup record 286 shooters entered. "It is the first time this many countries participate which is a good sign," Abdel-Hamid Ghaleb, Egyptian Shooting Federation executive manager, said. "It gives a great chance to our shooters to play against world class champions."
Moreover, it gives the opportunity for the sport to shed its image. "Shooting is a very unpopular sport in the world because it symbolises fighting, something which is against peace," Ghaleb said. "We are exerting a lot of effort all around the world to change the image. People have to know that we are not killers."
Egypt hosted the World Cup eight times before, starting in 1963. World Cup events are held five times a year on five continents while the world championships take place once every two years.
"This World Cup was a good chance for all our shooters to train and gain experience before the 2004 Athens Olympics," Ghaleb said. In Athens, Egypt has two skeet places, one rifle and one trap for men and one rifle for women. The qualifications came in the African championship that was held in Pretoria, South Africa, in the summer.
The shooters have not yet been named except for Mohamed Ismail in 10ms air pistol. Ismail is one of only three Egyptian athletes being sponsored by the Olympic Solidarity Committee in the run-up to Athens. He is currently training at the German Shooting School and will attend the pre-Olympics tournament taking place now in Athens. He will also take part in the Rifle Masters Championship in France as a final warm-up before the Games. "We are hoping for an Olympic medal in Athens from Mohamed Ismail," Ghaleb said.
In the World Cup, Egypt participated in the trap and skeet events with 10 men and five women but failed to collect a single medal. Still, "our shooters gained great experience," said Ghaleb.
In the men's trap individuals, Irishman David Maloon came first, Australian Michael Diamond second and Italian Marco Ventollini third. In teams, Italy came first followed by Turkey and Ireland.
In the women's trap individuals, Maria Quanta of Spain collected the gold medal, Italian Silvia Younti the silver and Czech Kosova Evaita the bronze.
In the men's double trap event, Ahmed Maktoum of the UAE took first, Greek Angelos Seperoblas second and Qatari Rashid Al-Athba third.
In the teams' event, the Arabs swept the board. The UAE collected the gold, Kuwait the silver and Qatar the bronze. In women's double trap, Spain's Maria Quantem struck gold, Italy's Elena Elotshenti silver and teammate Elizabeth Sisterneno the bronze.
In men's skeet, Cliff Brambli of Britain claimed first place, Norwegian Eric Faidantal second and Latavian Borris Timo third. In the teams' event, Finland ended up in first place, Norway second and the Dominican Republic third. In the women's skeet individuals, Italy's Kiara Kinaro collected the gold, Britain's Pinkie Rogrela the silver and the bronze went to the Czech Republic's Eva Pilarova.
Five international jurists from Germany, Finland, Britain, Turkey and Egypt took part.
"It was a very good competition," International Shooting Federation technical delegate Joseph Maria Lawrada said. "The organisation was very classy and the competition very strong due to the participation of a great number of countries and first class shooters."
A doping control centre, headed by Mohamed Said El-Hefnawi, took urine samples from all first place winners and runners up which will be sent to Germany for tests.